North Dakota tribe buys idle oil pipeline from Enbridge

NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) — A Native American tribe in North Dakota bought an idle pipeline from the energy company Enbridge to help deliver oil from wells on its reservation to the broader market.

The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation announced the deal Friday but didn't disclose how much it paid. The tribe said it expects the pipeline, which will connect its oil facilities on its Fort Berthold Reservation to Enbridge's large pipeline network, will be up and running within a year.

“This is a major step in enhancing our ability to get our trust assets of oil and gas out to market,” tribal chair Mark Fox said to the Bismarck Tribune.

There are more than 2,600 active oil and gas wells on the reservation that produced an average of 144,190 barrels of oil per day in February, according to the most recent figures from the state Department of Mineral Resources. Regulators estimate there is potential for 3,911 additional oil and gas wells on the reservation.

The 31-mile pipeline is the closest one to the tribe's Thunder Butte Petroleum subsidiary's transloading and oil storage facility. It can transport 15,000 barrels a day.

Mike Koby, vice president of U.S. liquids pipelines operations for Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge, said the MHA Nation will be the first tribal shipper on an Enbridge pipeline. Owning the pipeline will benefit the tribe financially, he said.